The basis for Christianity is the supernatural work of God in the regenerating of a sinner. In other words to be “born-again”. Jesus teaches this in John 3:3-10, and without this work the sinner will stay in their current fallen state. He makes what is called a “new creation”, and places the newly born sinner in His Son Jesus Christ. When we speak of “Amazing Grace”, this is the core of it.
With many of us, we realize at that point a past life of debauchery and sin. God shows us everything of our sinful nature and by this we cling even more to Jesus Christ.
My sad past sinful life is evidence of this! While a weekly church going Roman Catholic, I lived a life of total depravity in EVERY respect of those words. Like many Catholics, I had thought that the church going would cover my life of sin. I thought I was a “good person”.
But when I look back, and God allows me to this often, I see nothing but a sad, pathetic, wicked sinner. The things I did, the places I went to, etc. were utterly stupid and despicable. When the memories of my former life come to the present, all I do is shake my head in DISGUST. I was a vile sinner, and deserved every bit of eternal hell! I lied, cheated, stole, was abusive, perverted, sexually immoral. Again, in my mind as a church going “good boy”, I thought everything was fine. After all, I didn’t murder anyone, I hadn’t been arrested for anything. So my subjective “goodness” was what I was clinging to and comparing myself by. It was NOWHERE NEAR the holiness of God! I was a walking dead man, wretched in every way!
When God opened my heart and mind to see Him for who He is, I could only shutter in those sins. And then something totally amazing happened. God forgave me for each and every disgusting evil act or thought I had through Jesus Christ. Jesus, a perfect Lamb of God, died in my place. It REALLY set me back at first. I cried in horror of my former life. I realized it was MY sin which sent Jesus to the Cross where He died willingly for me. He was my substitute for the wrath pending from God.
Then with this total AMAZING grace, I was granted freedom by nothing of which I said or did. God counted me as His child. It was the single most life-changing event in my life, and every Christian will attest to the same thing.
It is our past life which makes the grace, amazing. And with this new life, it is NEVER a license to live that past life again, it is freedom from it! God grants something called repentance. The newborn sinner realizes what Jesus did and who He is and what sent Him to the Cross. We turn from our sins! We don’t continue to seek them out, there are no more rationalizations for sin.
A testimony of a Christian will always speak of repentance, because this is part of the new nature. We aren’t striving for holiness to be saved or forgiven, we do so in thanksgiving in this new nature God has granted.
I for one will never forget my former life! I NEVER want to return to that life. I regret that it took almost 4 decades of sin, half of my life, to finally get it. So much time and energy wasted in such disgusting nonsense. I often think of how my life would be if God gave me this rebirth much earlier. But I am grateful He SAVED me when He did! I rest in His timing. Roman Catholicism is part of my past life, and I will NEVER return to that idolatry and blasphemy either. All that world religion did was to enable my depravity even more as God showed me through His word.
He could have just let me perish in my sins some time during that 4 decades, and it would have been JUSTICE handed out. But this is why we say “God is good”! His ways are not our ways, thanks be to Him!
Having a PAST life means you have a NEW life by His grace! Remember this!